Hyderabad Killing: Accused Visited Marpally and Confirmed Nagaraju Is Dalit
The accused visited Ambedkar Colony in Marpally where Billipuram Nagaraju's parents still live.
Billipuram Nagaraju and Syed Ashrin Sultana thought they could convince her brother, Syed Mobin Ahmed, to agree to their marriage plans in October 2021. But after hearing them out, Mobin Ahmed allegedly went on to ascertain key details of Nagaraju’s background to establish that he was Dalit and economically backward, The Quint has gathered.
Mobin Ahmed and his relative Mohammed Masood Ahmed allegedly beat and stabbed Nagaraju to death at Saroornagar in Hyderabad, even as Sultana kept pleading with them to spare him. The murder was caught on camera at the busy traffic junction in Hyderabad.
Sultana’s family is believed to have been opposed to the marriage between her, a Muslim woman and Nagaraju, a Mala (Scheduled Caste) Hindu. The couple got married at an Arya Samaj temple on 31 January 2022.
Threat to Life Conveyed in October 2021
Sultana’s family was planning to get her married but she kept refusing proposals for Nagaraju’s sake. While her continued disinterest towards marriage raised suspicions in her family, Nagaraju went to meet her mother, Naseemunissa, to convince her.
Nagaraju told Naseemunisa that he would adopt Islam to marry Sultana. The mother, however, was not convinced that Mobin Ahmed would agree. “My mother said that she could do nothing about it. She said if we get married, my brother would kill us,” Sultana told The Quint. Sultana’s father had died in 2018 and Ahmed was running the family.
The imminent threat did not dissuade Nagaraju. He had a meeting with the brother, Mobin Ahmed. "My family did not know about his caste till then. They only knew he was Hindu, which itself was a big problem," Ashrin Sultana said. A quick look at Nagaraju's background would, however, easily reveal his caste identity.
When Nagaraju met Ahmed, they spoke for hours during which time his caste “seemed apparent” to them. Sultana remembers her family saying his caste name, Mala, at home. But as per Sultana’s perspective, Ahmed was mostly angry about her wanting to marry a Hindu. He allegedly assaulted her at home to force her to reveal Nagaraju’s cellphone number.
Nagaraju by then had informed his family that he would marry a Muslim woman and that he might adopt Islam. However, the family did not know the whereabouts of the bride.
Sultana left home in January 2022 and married Nagaraju on 31 January. She assumed the name Pallavi during the marriage because Arya Samaj norms insist that non-Hindus should adopt Hinduism before they marry at the Samaj.
Mobin Ahmed, however, did not back down. He and his relatives tried to find more about Nagaraju in February 2022.
Recce to Nagaraju’s Home in Marpally in February 2022
Sultana’s family used to be residents of Ganapur in Vikarabad district a decade ago. Ganapur is close to Marpally where Nagaraju’s family still lives. After Sultana’s marriage, Mobin Ahmed visited Marpally to enquire about Nagaraju.
At Marpally, Ahmed found Nagaraju’s parents B Srinivas and Anasuya living in Ambedkar Colony, Marpally. His family has a two-room house in the village, which is over a 100 kilometre away from Hyderabad, and some land for cultivation.
Nagaraju’s parents also worked as labourers to provide for the family. His sister Ramadevi has been staying with the family after separating from her husband.
“They (brother and relatives) made enquiries and found out about his background. They knew about his caste clearly then,” Sultana, who is living at her late husband's home, explained.
Marpally residents told The Quint that they were aware of “some people” enquiring about Nagaraju and visiting his home. But no one thought much of it.
“Near this colony, there are Muslim neighbours. We do not suspect such enquires because here there are no communal tensions,” B Ramesh, a relative of Nagaraju, said.
In Marpally, Nagaraju’s is one of the poorest households, a neighbour said. While Sultana’s family too has been struggling with finances, managing household on the income of Mobin Ahmed who worked as a fruit vendor, Nagaraju’s backward socio-economic background could have emboldened the accused in the case, a neighbour and relative who identified himself as B Rakesh, insisted.
“Nagaraju’s family has been struggling to make ends meet for long. It was his income that kept them afloat,” Rakesh said. After the murder, several political parties including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have promised a job for one member of the family.
Hyderabad police has been maintaining that the murder was premeditated.
The accused followed Nagaraju for a month, prior to the murder. “I remember Nagaraju saying one week before his death that he saw someone who looked like my brother-in-law at the car showroom where he worked. I told him that he could be mistaken. But now it seems they were following him,” Sultana said. Sultana’s brother-in-law Mohammed Masood Ahmed is the second accused in the case.
Sultana has said that she would continue to live in Nagaraju’s home. “This is the house where Raju lived since his childhood. I feel his presence here. I will live here. Everyone things Raju is dead but for me, Raju still lives in my heart. Till I die he will be with me,” Sultana said.
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